Here’s the problem with people trying to equate the violent acts and words of McCain supporters to those of Obama supporters. You can pull that sign that keeps getting firebombed from your front lawn. You can decide not to discuss politics in public. You can peel that bumper sticker off of your car. You’ll be safe. Silenced, but safe.
I can’t peel off my skin. The guy down the block can’t stop being Arab. Children in mosques aren’t being sprayed with chemical irritants because McCain supporters who watched the Obsession DVD can’t bear the thought of those children voting for Obama. I didn’t get the stink eye a couple of weeks ago from a guy loudly ranting about Obama not wearing a flag pin because of my own Obama pin. I wasn’t wearing one. I was just being my regular ol’ black self—which apparently is more than enough to hurl abuse in my direction. And it is more than enough for McCain supporters to call a cameraman a racial slur and tell him, “Sit down, boy.”
I can’t stand Sarah Palin. Yet I’m not staring down some random innocent white lady in Walmart while I scream about rape kits. I’m not going to an Obama rally in order to call a white cameraman a slur and shove him to the ground. I’m not storming into St. Peter’s to spray mace in children’s faces. I’m not attacking people because I’ve decided that how they were born is somehow anti-American and a cause for disgust. My irritation with McCain and Palin is due to their behavior and not the circumstances of their births.
Stump speeches have fanned the flames of racism. False accusations have fostered ethnic intolerance and religious bigotry. And regular Americans—and we are regular Americans—no matter what our skin color, religion, or middle names may be, are being hurt because of it.